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Amid omicron scare, Karnataka puts nearly 600 passengers under surveillance

Airport authorities are mainly checking the Covid-19 vaccination report, RT PCR test and Rapid antigen test reports of the passengers coming from high-risk countries.
All international passengers will be tested for Covid-19 again after seven days. (File photo)
Published on Nov 30, 2021 08:06 AM IST
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

After two people who returned from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19, authorities have made seven days quarantine compulsory for all international passengers and intensified testing and sanitisation at Bengaluru airport amid increasing concern over omicron.

Karnataka health minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Monday the samples of one of the two passengers tested positive for coronavirus but was "a little different from the delta variant."

Airport authorities in Bengaluru have also made RT PCR and Rapid Antigen testing for those travelling from other countries and thermal screening compulsory.

Also read | South African’s Covid sample different from delta: Karnataka health minister

"All international passengers who test negative for Covid-19 on arrival in Bengaluru will be put in quarantine for seven days. They will be tested again after seven days,” Bengaluru Rural district health officer Tippeswamy said, adding 598 such passengers are under surveillance.

Tippeswamy said airport authorities are mainly checking the vaccination report, RT PCR test and Rapid antigen test reports of the passengers coming from high-risk countries.

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Also read | Covid clusters in Maharashtra, Karnataka under watch for new variant

"We are also conducting RT PCR test at the airport for the passengers arriving from high-risk countries. If they are found negative, then they will be suggested to home quarantine. If the passenger tests positive, they will be sent to a designated hospital for isolation," he added.

Tippeswamy said they also discussed the issue of passengers coming from Kerala and Maharastra to Bengaluru without RT-PCR test and vaccination report. "We have already directed airlines to check reports compulsorily and not to allow anyone to travel without the report," he said.

As many as 49 health officials have been working in three shifts to check both international and domestic passengers arriving.

Also read | From Pfizer to Moderna: What vaccine makers are saying about omicron jabs

Meanwhile, a family travelling from Abu Dhabi complained the new protocol of being tested for Covid-19 at the airport is too expensive.

“Despite producing negative RT-PCR test reports, officials made us take another test and charged 3000 per person. We were called back for the test once after we entered," a family member added, according to news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, in view of the new variant of Covid-19, the Dakshina Kannada district administration resumed screening at the Talapady Checkpost, conducting RT-PCR tests of those arriving in the district from Kerala without a negative report.

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraja Bommai on Monday asked people not to panic about omicron and they must follow Covid-19 precautionary measures strictly.

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